Toboggan Falls-Hargreaves Lake loop: Berg Lake day hike

In my previous post, I wrote about our Berg Lake backpacking trip in British Columbia’s Mount Robson Provincial Park. This post features the Toboggan Falls-Hargreaves Lake loop, a day hike from Berg Lake that packs a huge punch over just 6.3 km (4 mi) and a manageable 348 m (1142 ft) elevation gain. From waterfalls that look like enormous waterslides to glacial lakes, lush forest and top-drawer mountain panoramas, this loop has astonishing variety and beauty. It’s hikeable in two hours but we spent over four hours exploring and photo-taking. I had a smile on my face the whole time.

We started the loop at the Toboggan Lake trailhead, clearly marked just after the bridge at the Berg Lake campground. We enjoyed this counterclockwise direction as it affords the grandest head-on views.

The trail begins steeply on switchbacks through the forest. It doesn’t take long before it starts skirting the edge of Toboggan Falls, a series of cascades that slide down over smooth slab rock. The views open up with Berg Lake and Mount Robson making stunning backdrops for the falls.

Kudos to the folks responsible for the amazing bench about one kilometre up the trail. It is the perfect perch from which to contemplate the views.

At 1.3 km there is a trail intersection: right is to Mumm Basin, which is closed due to damage caused by landslides, and left is our direction—the continuation of the loop toward Hargreaves Lake trail.

Much of the 1.6 km trail that connects the Toboggan Lake trail with the Hargreaves Lake trail undulates through the forest just below the tree line. There are lots of pretty creeks and intermittent mountain views. The trail is flagged and easy to follow despite the large sections of snow that still linger in late June. We see the ravages of nature with trees knocked down and bent sideways from the forces of snow and avalanches.

The landscape changes again as we emerge from the forest, just at the edge of the tree line—above us rubbly slopes and snow-capped peaks, below us majestic Berg Lake.

We soon get to the intersection with the Hargreaves Lake trail that travels down the rocky slope back to the main Berg Lake trail. But before we head down, we take the 0.2 km spur trail leading to the Hargreaves Lake lookout. With snow still covering the steep trail, it’s not easy going, but it’s a worthwhile effort for the stark, dramatic views over Hargreaves Lake and glacier.

The 1.3 km down the Hargreaves Lake trail is my favourite part of the loop. Berg Lake and the Robson Massif are in front of us the entire way down. We even get to see the small, teal-coloured lake fed by the Mist Glacier that is not visible from the Berg Lake trail.

The Hargreaves Lake trail dumps us out at the main Berg Lake trail near Marmot campground. From there, it’s a glorious 1.7 km lakeside walk back to our Berg Lake campsite.

The Toboggan Falls-Hargreaves Lake loop is one of the best, short loop hikes I’ve ever done and makes an awesome add-on hike from Berg Lake, Marmot, Rearguard or Robson Pass campgrounds.The scenery is beyond incredible and it’s a pretty easy hike. I recommend doing the whole loop, but for those short on time, the Hargreaves Lake trail, in my opinion, has the most spectacular views. Then again, Toboggan Falls is very special. Do the whole loop!

For more details about the route stats, refer to the AllTrails map profile.

Categories: British Columbia, Hiking | Tags: , , , | 65 Comments

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65 thoughts on “Toboggan Falls-Hargreaves Lake loop: Berg Lake day hike

  1. That stunning blue! What a beautiful country you live in.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I was ogling at your last post, Caroline. What a hike, and lovely to read about the Toboggan Falls-Hargreaves Lake loop short like in detail. I felt like I was walking along with you. Stunning views and stunning photos all round. No surprise you took much longer to complete the trail. It’s amazing to see and hear you encountered actual snow in late June on your hike, well into summer – and amazing to hike in mild weather and see snow 🙂

    It really did look like the last part of the trail was the best seeing Berg Lake and the Robson Massif was just right there. That lake is a stunning turquoise colour, and I could probably sit there all day staring at it.

    Hope you are doing well and take care.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thanks so much Mabel. The whole trip was amazing and this day hike was icing on the cake. Traveling through snow patches in the height of summer is quite common on our higher elevation hikes. Even though I’ve experienced this many times, it remains a thrill to be walking through snow wearing shorts on a hot day.
      Mike and I did lot of sitting on the edge of that beautiful lake!

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      • I am very jealous you are able to hike in the summer, seeing snow and wearing shorts. Hope you get to do a bit more hiking before summer is out 🙂

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  3. Beautiful country, great photos, Caroline!

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Some great hiking trails to keep the adrenaline pumping! So glad to comes across this post… loved all the hiking spots… Thanks for the all the information shared as well. The view from Estom Lake is breath taking! Nevertheless meeting aggressive cows and lizards on the way seems a little scarry though!

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  5. AndyG

    Those views of the lake are just spectacular and I’m not sure I’ve seen that angle before. We didn’t visit Hargreaves Lake, though we did go up past Toboggan Falls (to find a mysterious cave). Like so many glaciers, it’s sad to see the Mist has receded quite a bit since 2007 😦 I’m happy to see the Berg glacier still calves into the lake.

    Liked by 1 person

    • The caves you mention, or rather the trail leading there, is closed due to landslide debris. I think it has been closed for a few years now. Just looking over Hargreaves Lake there appears to be many more fun exploring options.
      It is alarming, but not surprising, that you can see the difference in Mist Glacier since 2007. When we hiked the trail to the toe of Robson Glacier we passed a sign from 1911, originally erected by The Alpine Club, showing where the ice extended to at that time…and now, we were still 1.7 km away from reaching the extent of the ice. Hearing and seeing the Berg Glacier calving is very cool.

      Liked by 1 person

  6. Wow, amazingly beautiful – that is certainly the perfect bench. You must have had a fantastic time. Thanks for sharing.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Pingback: Berg Lake Trail: Mount Robson Provincial Park, British Columbia | Writes of Passage

  8. Absolutely gorgeous photos and landscape. I cannot get over the turquoise blue of Berg lake, that is quite spectacular. If we ever make it out your way, this is the hike I would love to do…. I was surprised to see that there is snow on the trail in June!

    Beautiful post Caroline. Seems you guys are happy and doing well.

    Peta

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you Peta! Summer of 2021 has shaped up to be another explore B.C. adventure. This province has so much to offer and we’re really pleased that we’ve been “forced” to spend more time here. We’ve done two major backpacking trips with another planned in a couple of weeks. Unfortunately, much of the province is currently struggling with wildfires so plans may change.
      We are doing well–no complaints at all. Cheers to you and Ben.

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  9. You are so right, Caroline – that is the perfect bench. I’m not sure I would want to get up from it. What magnificent scenery!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Truly amazing water color! Those glacial lakes and streams would keep a smile on my face, too, and I can only imagine how long it would take me to get around this loop given the number of photos I’d be tempted to take!

    Liked by 2 people

    • Thanks Lexie! We took a ridiculous amount of photos. I’m glad we weren’t under any time constraints. It was really pleasant letting all that scenery sink in at our snail’s pace.

      Liked by 2 people

  11. I can easily see why you had a smile on your face the entire time. This hike looks incredible with great photo ops at every turn. The scenery is spectacular. You got waterfalls, rushing rivers, snow capped mountains, and a glacier fed lake. What more could you wish for in a hike!?

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Brian Foster

    As usual, no constantly, with your posts, stunning visuals and engaging commentary. The vistas on this one are outstanding. What a country we live in. You take and allow me to experience places I would never venture to without your adventures. Thanks for ‘the ride’. B

    Liked by 1 person

    • Brian Foster

      >

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    • Aww, thanks so much Brian! This hike has such an amazing effort-reward ratio. We absolutely loved it, and managed to get it in before the heat, flooding, wildfires…in B.C. Hope you’re enjoying your cottage!

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  13. The colors of these Canadian lakes are unbelievable! Beautiful recap.

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  14. Josy A

    Oooh great to know! The Toboggan Falls-Hargreaves Lake loop looks pretty amazing! We may have to copy you and add this on for our adventure too. 🙂

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    • You guys heading to Berg Lake? It’s amazing. If you can, leave time for a few day hikes. This one was great. I’d like to return and also do Snowbird Pass.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Josy A

        I would looove to do snowbird pass too. I’m not sure if we’ll have time this time (I could only get 2 nights on the trail.) I’m super excited though!

        Liked by 1 person

  15. love a good, short hike and this looks fantastic. the colour of alpine lakes, the blue, is so beautiful!

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    • It was totally awesome and our timing was lucky before the extreme heat wave and floods. Crazy what’s happening these days with climate change.

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  16. Wow, what a place, Caroline! Could you imagine going for a dip on a warm summers day under the impressive Mount Robson and all the glaciers? Finding those ever-increasingly beautiful views of Berg Lake as well as the two glaciers and the moraine that separates them must have been an amazing experience. Thanks for sharing, brightening up my day and taking me to faraway places without the need to leave my home. With a sharp and steady increase in new COVID cases, we won’t be able to leave Ireland and see the world for another few months if not more. Have a nice day, I hope all is well 🙂 Aiva xxx

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    • Thanks Aiva. I’m glad I could take you on a trip. Believe it or not, some people did take dips in icy Berg Lake. I stuck my hands and feet in, and that was enough for me. There were pieces of ice from the glacier floating around in the lake.
      Sorry to hear about your surge in COVID cases. It’s happening in many places and it’s scary that this pandemic seems far from over. We have high vaccination rates here in Canada and our cases are low but it’s so important to remember the fragility of the situation. For now we are content to do more outdoor travel in British Columbia. Take care!

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  17. Awesome views!! Gorgeous lake and the Breg Glacier looks stunning!!

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  18. Spectacular. I can see why you had a smile on your face the whole time.
    Alison

    Liked by 1 person

  19. That is just simply awesome. You are so lucky to enjoy such spectacular scenery. Mel

    Liked by 1 person

  20. Absolutely stunning! Wow! I can’t even decide which view I like best because they’re all so beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  21. This is probably one of the best side treks around. Specacular views, and you had amazing skies. The view from the Hargreaves Lake trail of Berg Lake and the glacier tarn is spectacular. I love how these big massifs always form their own clouds giving you brief glimpses of their peak. Maybe next year we’ll get there. Maggie

    Liked by 1 person

    • We knew we wouldn’t be able to hike the signature Snowbird Pass trail due to caribou calving season and we were a bit bummed that the rain/fog had has abandoning the Mumm Basin viewpoint, but this little loop completely exceeded our expectations. Getting those brief glimpses of the top of Robson between the clouds was almost more beautiful than the completely clear day we had on the hike up. Hope you make it there and time it so that Snowbird Pass is open.

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  22. I think I’ve never seen such a beautiful glacier lake. The colour, the landscape is just wow!
    The view from that bench is definitely worth millions 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • It’s right up there for me too, Len, and I’ve seen lots of stunning glacier lakes. This trail is really the whole package for beauty and variety (and the bench puts it over the top).

      Liked by 1 person

  23. Wowow… Caroline, its amazing! Hope we will visit one day 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  24. One of the great things about Canada is that vast areas are undeveloped or minimally developed.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Our national and provincial parks are treasures for sure. Some of them are a bit too loved these days. But as you say, we do have huge areas that are undeveloped…just a bugger to get to (that’s a good thing).

      Liked by 1 person

  25. Uncool Cycling Club

    Stunning scenery 😍

    Liked by 2 people

  26. Absolutely stunning! The colour of the lake and the waterfalls that looks indeed like waterslides are just breathtaking beautiful! And that bench … oh, you will struggle to get me away from there 😉. My question though: Since I’m not familiar with hiking in snow covered areas … I thought it would be cold, but I see a short and t-shirt as hiking attire 👀.
    Beautiful photo’s and colours – I really enjoyed your post!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much for your lovely comments. Good question about the snow. Many of our mountain ranges in western Canada get so much snow in the winter that some trails remain snow covered well into our summer. Even with warm/hot temperatures it doesn’t all melt. The temp that day was about 23 C (73 F). The hiking window for higher elevation hikes is often quite short (July-Sept). It was fun traipsing through snow for a short bit, but it slows you down.

      Liked by 1 person

  27. Wow, what an amazing location Caroline!

    Berg Lake and Mount Robson look really amazing. I wish I could hike in that area. Really!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hopefully you’ll get there one of these days. You’ll just have to compete with all the Canadians trying to get reservations! Worth the effort though.

      Like

  28. That is indeed the perfect bench! If I were there, I think I could spend hours (well, maybe around half an hour) just sitting there and marveling at the incredibly beautiful view. I love those different colors in your photos, Caroline, and the hike itself sounds quite pleasant too.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I think we spent a good 15 minutes on that bench and we’d only hiked about a kilometre. It was just too beautiful to pass by. If we had timed it differently it would have made a great lunch spot. I can’t get over the colours either. Nature is amazing. That little teal-coloured lake reminds me of the colours I saw at Kelimutu on Flores, though the topography is completely different.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Ah yes, Kelimutu, although you also need a little bit of luck to see all the three lakes in different colors.

        Like

  29. Looks spectacular! Thanks.

    Liked by 1 person

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